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Confidence and self-esteem

Confidence is good and confidence is nice.

When you have confidence, you play in the present moment, courageous and thus most often you perform your best.


However, self-confidence is temporary and it can come as quickly as it can disappear.


As a player, you can not wait for the feeling of confidence before you take action in the game. If you cannot perform in the match before you have a good feeling (e.g. of feeling comfortable or having confidence), then you are limited because of your mental skills.


If you do not want to let your confidence determine your performance, then you need to start developing your mental skills ...



Pictures and design by Ynja Mist


Mental trainer Carsten Oldengaard has found 4 essential focus points about self-confidence which all athletes and coaches need to read and understand.


The growing tendency for many shifts between different teams and training environments means that countless of young athletes are in contact with too many coaches in too short time. Which can potentially be detrimental to self-confidence and self-esteem.


Young athletes need long-lasting and continuous adult-coach relationships. Relationships where the young people feel that they are highly valued, that they are supported and that they are trusted as both persons and athletes. In other words, they need coaches who, in long coach relationships, see a whole person and not just an attacker, defender, goalkeeper etc.


From the parents, the athlete must first and foremost feel loved - no matter what happens. In addition, sports parents must naturally raise their sports child to be a good and decent human being. Sports education like mentaltræning, on the other hand, should be in the sports environment and with the coaches.


The most important source of self-confidence for young athletes is long-term cooperation with competent adult coaches. Coaches can, through their professionalism, their experience in the sport and their position, tell and make visible what the athlete can or should do. Further they should enforce the confidence in themselves - even if the athlete sometimes experiences failure on the field and loses confidence in his or her skills.


Above all, it is the coach who is able to highlight the competencies of the athlete on the field and maintain the athlete's attention to what he / she can and should be trusted for i difficult periods. It is also the coach who can put the athlete to work and provide tasks that can further enhance the confidence of the athletes.


Adapted from Team-Danmark model in sports psychology (credits at team-Denmark at House of Sports in Brøndby)

The two sides of confidence

When training young athletes, we should mainly talk to them about what they are good at, both on and off the pitch - and what we think they can develop into. By expressing their positive abilities and their potential, we build the athletes confidence.


As the athlete then gets older, we can open up to talk about the other side of self-confidence. The second part is about what the athlete should refrain from doing. and what he / she is bad at and therefore must avoid.


It is important to know and understand both these sides of confidence. Just as it is important that we talk about the athlete having to rely on and use their competencies in competitions - and not just suddenly trying to do something in competition that is outside the competence of the athlete (if you are a coach, you should look into Lev Vygotsky's theory of cognitive development).


However, the first important steps in building and strengthening the confidence of young athletes is to give them a clear sense that they can do something. Indeed, a strong self-confidence has several contagious effects of the positive kind. For example, a strong self-confidence gives the practitioner the courage to experiment and explore, as well as strengthens the ability to acquire useful experiences.


Therefore, it is crucial for the young athlete's development that he / she maintains safe relationships with e.g. sportspsykolog coaches in sports environments and arenas without too many and too frequent shifts.

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